As we arrive, I’m know that this is one of those hard-to-fault cafes. I know this because a) as I walk in, everything looks good, b) I’ve been in here before and c) I’ve been in a few Coffee #1s and they usually great coffee shops.

The counter is near the door so we can get on with the nasty queuing business straight away. The friendly and efficient staff talked us through the quite impressive selection of cakes and paninis before getting a thumps-up from me for doing toast and marmite. There is soup and porridge and a wide selection of teas and coffees with seasonal filters and expressos. We had already breakfasted but had a decent latte and took in the surroundings.

Inside is spacious and the floor is tiled and wooden in places. There is, of bloody course,  brickwork on some walls and maps and old piccies of Stafford over the last 100 years. It’s just after Christmas and there are pretty arrangements of lights, mistletoe dotted about and an attractive tree display. There are wooden tables abound and the chairs are fine but a few are ridiculously low presumably hoping for a visit from Peter Dinklage. The rear of the cafe is a bit more loungey and cosy with large bookshelves to ceiling and sofas spread about. It’s better lit and a bit less clangy than the front of the shop. It’s a good place to come and curl up with a book or amenable friend on a cold Winter’s day. Or any day really.

So what’s wrong with it? I gave up finding fault but I had a couple of minutes to myself to observe some of the punters…

A passive-aggresive Spaniel sat near my licking it’s own genitals and panting heavily. Across from me sat an old couple that mentioned the word ‘duvet’ fifteen times in two minutes (like they were being fecking sponsored) with a young teenager with a face that resembled a monkfish.  Then a wan-faced lady passed me walking bow-legged (perhaps she had had a VERY good night!) spilling her beetroot latte so it left a sort of Vimto snail trail behind her. Then I realised this is NOT Cheshire. Things are different here, Dave. Stop staring!

So Coffee#1 is great if you want a coffee or a panini but bad if you want to play croquet or learn abseiling. I first discovered this chain in Wales over ten years ago when I think there were only about five of them and now there seems to be over sixty. Good luck to ’em. I hope they replace a few Costa Coffeezzzzzzzzzzzz.

Verdict: 4.5 /5

Good: Pretty much all

Bad: Smeg knows if I’m honest. Maybe the toilet roll could be softer? A few go-go dancers on the counter would be nice. 🙂